[UPDATE: It's Official - Prepare for Transformers: Age of Extinction!!!!]
Transformers 4 has been surrounded in secrecy during its production. Director Michael Bay returned to the franchise in order to launch a new (semi-rebooting) chapter of the Transformers saga, which he will then (allegedly) pass off to a new director and creative team. So far we have new human characters in the form of Mark Wahlberg’s gear-head/inventor character, Flynn Vincent; Flynn’s hot rod enthusiast daughter played by Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel) and her speed-racing love interest played by Jack Reynor (What Richard Did). We also know that in addition to returning favorites like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, the actual Transformers might see new additions like Slingshot and Drift, Hound – possibly even Nemesis Prime or Ultra Magnus.
But what about those lingering rumors that the fan-favorite Dinobots could be in TF4 - and what is the official subtitle to this fourth film? Today’s update may help answer questions on both those fronts.
Over the weekend, Fusible picked up on a story involving the brand protection agency that oversaw the registration of the domain name TransformersDarkoftheMoon.com when the third film was released. The studio is allegedly once again registering various domain names in anticipation of the Transformers 4‘s release next summer, with the following candidates being listed by Fusible:
HOWEVER, Transformers World 2005 also makes the claim that the following subtitle has ALSO been registered with Hasbro:
- Transformers: Age of Extinction
Of the the three, I personally find “Age of Extinction” to be the most likely. The fact that Bay has repeatedly made it clear that TF4 is a new beginning makes “Apocalypse” or “Last Stand” feel a bit off the mark – with “Last Stand” seeming particularly troublesome, given its proximity to that similarly-titled Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback vehicle that flopped at the box office early this year. Of course, there is another factor to consider: The Dinobots.
We’ve heard continued rumors and speculation that the Dinobots will make a major appearance in TF4 - and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura recently added major fuel to that fire when he told Beijing News the following when discussing China’s role in the movie:
“I can not disclose the specifics, but you can be sure that the joining of the Dinobots will give the audience new excitement. In addition to Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, the appearance of these classic roles changed, today the world’s coolest, most exciting cars will appear in the film, including China’s vehicles, whether you are a car enthusiast, you will feast your eyes and be shocked by them.”
Is that confirmation that the Dinobots are in the film? Certainly sounds like it. Others are also pointing to some recent set photos (SEE them HERE) which have the production crew sporting hats with TF4 logos – logos which seem to have claw marks in them, presumably teasing the Dinobots’ appearance. Given all that evidence that Dinobots will be in the film – and leaked alleged plot spoilers that fit in line with the clues we’ve seen so far – it seems that “Age of Extinction” would be a most fitting title for two reasons:
- “Age of Extinction” could refer to a history involving the Dinobots (who would be resurrected from long dormancy or death).
- The subtitle could also refer to the rumored deaths/transformations that certain characters (like Megatron) could go through – a “changing of the guard” for the franchise.
Resident Evil already has its “Apocalypse” and Schwarzenegger already has his “Last Stand” – so when the dust settles and official confirmation is out, don’t be surprised if “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is soon covering billboards and TV screens in your area.
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
After appearing on “Saturday Night Live” for seven years and producing phenomenally popular “Digital Shorts,” how will Andy Samberg transition to a traditional sitcom?
Samberg is starring in the Fox comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a new comedy premiering Sept. 17, which follows Samberg’s character Jake Peralta, a police detective whose immature ways are challenged by his precinct’s strict captain (Andre Braugher). “Gossip Girl” actress Melissa Fumero is playing Jake’s partner Amy.
The show was created by Michael Schur, who is the executive producer and co-creator of the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” and Dan Goor, also an executive producer for “Parks.”
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Some are already hailing “Brooklyn” as a success, with TVLine writer Matt Webb Mitovitch calling “Brooklyn” “the fall’s best new comedy” after having seen the pilot. (TV writers often clarify that their appraisals of pilots that haven’t yet aired are more first impressions than reviews because of the pilots’ unfinished nature and how often they change before they make it to primetime.)
“Is it doing anything revolutionary?” Mitovitch wrote of the pilot, “not really… I think it successfully serves up the rare cop shop comedy, filled with LOLs and boasting a vivid, diverse ensemble devoid of any clunkers.”
HitFix writer Daniel Fienberg said the show was “one of this fall's better comedy pilots” but that the laughs were a little lacking.
“For the show to work, the writers will need to hone the consistency of its comedic flow,” he wrote. “The pieces are all here and they just need to gel a tiny bit more for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" to become a winner.”
Meanwhile, BuzzSugar writer Becky Kirsch said she found Samberg “downright delightful” but that “while some of the supporting characters work, like Braugher as the intimidating new captain of the police force and Melissa Fumero as Jake's love interest/rival, a lot of the other faces around the police station are too cartoony.”
Will viewers be drawn in by Samberg’s new comedy?
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Labor Day approaching means it’s almost time to pack away the beach chairs and get that last ice cream cone, but in movie world, it also signifies the competitive summer blockbuster season is drawing to a close.
While there are always misfires as movie studios rush to release their tentpole films during a time of the year when no one’s in school and everyone’s desperate for air-conditioning, some films came out on top. Now, the week before Labor Day, we can take stock. Here are the movies that were crowned kings of the box office. (We counted summer as lasting from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day, though the Labor Day weekend box office may push one of these movies off the list.)
5. “World War Z”
The movie, which came out on June 21, puts Brad Pitt at the center of a zombie infestation when his character Gerry Lane, a former investigator for the UN, has to figure out what’s caused the pandemic. The film is based on the book of the same name by writer Max Brooks and grossed more than $198 million, according to the website Box Office Mojo. Critics were lukewarm – “Z” currently has a score of 63 on the review aggregator website Metacritic.
4. “Fast & Furious 6"
“Fast,” which was released on May 24, had cast members Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster return as a group of criminals who face off with Luke Evans as villainous former military man Owen Shaw. Despite its domestic box office haul of more than $238 million, it received a middling response from critics, with the film scoring 61 out of 100 on the review aggregator site Metacritic. However, it’s already done better at the box office than its precedessor, “Fast Five,” which brought in more than $209 million in domestic ticket sales.
3. “Monsters University”
“University,” Pixar’s sequel to its film “Monsters, Inc.,” was released on June 21 and traveled back in time to tell the story of protagonists Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) attending college and learning to be the top scarers they later become. The movie grossed more than $261 million domestically but received mixed reviews, scoring a 65 at Metacritic. But reviewers were more enamored of it than Pixar’s last sequel, “Cars 2,” which scored an average of 57.
2. “Man of Steel”
The newest Superman film came out on June 14 and starred Henry Cavill in his first go-round as Clark Kent, Amy Adams as intrepid reporter Lois Lane, and “Boardwalk Empire” actor Michael Shannon as villain General Zod. The film was the latest attempt to reboot Superman after 2006’s “Superman Returns,” and a sequel to “Steel” is already planned. The movie raked in more than $289 million at the box office, but critics were even less impressed with this film – it currently has an average review score of 55.
1. “Despicable Me 2”
The animated film starring Steve Carell as a former supervillain and Kristen Wiig as his romantic interest was released on July 3 and has grossed an estimated domestic haul of more than $350 million, already far beyond the original movie’s domestic gross of more than $251 million. However, critics liked the first better; “2” has a 62 Metacritic average, while the original “Despicable Me” scored a 72.
The list of films shows more than ever how May is increasingly becoming part of the summer movie season – we had to toss out the highest-grossing film of the year so far, “Iron Man 3,” because it came out May 3.
So now does the release of the historical drama “The Butler,” starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and a host of actors as various American presidents, mean it’s Oscar season?
At San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios came prepared with buzzworthy news and footage to share, but it was the end of their presentation that delivered the biggest surprise. The Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon took to the stage to unveil a teaser and the official logo for the highly anticipated sequel to his record-breaking superhero team-up and few in the audience were expecting it.
What was shown preceding The Avengers: Age of Ultron title card was footage of an Iron Man armored suit transforming into Ultron, the villainous robot and one of Earth’s Mightiest’s greatest foes. Little did we know that the voice and face of that character would be James Spader.
The man who played Dr. Daniel Jackson in the original Stargate film and more recently had a starring role in the latter seasons of The Office, also having worked with Disney in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar nominated Lincoln, is going to play the primary antagonist of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The news comes directly from Marvel who are continuing to embrace a trend of utilizing their own brand to promote internal news and the official casting is the second for The Avengers sequel having happily confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. had signed for both currently-planned Avengers sequels a few months earlier.
With Age of Ultron not beginning to shoot until next year, the timing of the casting announcement months before Thor: The Dark World hits theaters and while Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy is curious, if not timely. For the last week, headlines from both Disney-Marvel and rival studio Warner Bros./DC Entertainment have focused on high profile casting, with Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Olsen having been confirmed to be in talks with Marvel while Ben Affleck was officially announced to take on the iconic role of Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.
Since Affleck is official and the other Marvel-associated names are not, perhaps Marvel is attempting to turn the buzz back towards them with an official announcement of their own regarding their highest profile and most bankable upcoming project.
With a commanding voice and onscreen presence, coupled with his unique mannerisms, Spader is an unusual yet inspired choice. Yet, looking at his facial expression in the image from NBCs upcoming series The Blacklist above, Whedon made an appropriate and exciting selection. Our theories of Iron Man’s AI assistance Jarvis going rogue and the voice of the character (Paul Bettany) getting a chance to play Ultron is at least partly not going to be the case.
We know Spader… Ultron is going to be a source of great pain and conflict for The Avengers and it’s becoming increasingly likely that one (or more?) of the heroes may not make it out alive. Who will die? Did Tony Stark create James Spader as his deadliest creation? Should the film be renamed The Avengers: Age of James Spader to better fit Whedon’s entirely new origin story for the character?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
It was a welcome surprise to find out out that season 2 of the hit FX series American Horror Story would feature an altogether new story rather than a continuation of season 1. Now, with season 3 – subtitled Coven – just a couple of months out, we’re learning more and more about the plot of the newest installment of the anthology series, thanks to teaser trailers, interviews, and more.
For example, we know that the story will take place in both 19th century and modern-day New Orleans and will center on a war between Salem witches and the local Voodoo practitioners. Much of the cast of the previous seasons will return – including Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Evan Peters, and Sarah Paulson – but there are newcomers as well, like Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates. Bassett and Bates recently talked about the plot of Coven, their characters, and what we can expect from the new season.
Courtesy of Collider, the actresses talked about the characters they’re playing:
Bassett: “Well, I play Marie Laveau. It’s been interesting, being in New Orleans, because there’s such a regard and respect for who she was. She lived to about 80 years old, and she was a very influential person in the city. My character is based loosely on her.”
Bates: “My Southern accent has come roaring back. Now that that cat is out of the bag, one of the things I enjoyed reading about Madame LaLaurie is that my great-great-grandfather came from Dublin to New Orleans in the 1830s, and he became personal physician to Andrew Jackson. And I read in the book on LaLaurie that his plantation was next door to theirs. So, I was very curious to know whether my grandfather ever met her because I think he would have been there just before she left. I thought that was interesting.”
For those unaware, both Marie Laveau and Madame LaLaurie are based on actual historical figures (though, as Bassett says, probably very “loosely“). Laveau was a renowned practitioner of Voodoo in New Orleans during the 1800s.
LaLaurie, on the other hand, was more notorious than renowned – she was one of the few known female serial killers of her day. A Louisiana socialite, she tortured and mass murdered slaves and was eventually chased out of town by an outraged mob.
The actresses also talked about what enticed them to join Coven:
BATES: “I went out for a drink with my friend, Jessica, after seeing the first season. And I said, ‘You’ve got to get me on that show.’ I thought it would be maybe a couple of episodes. So, I went in and sat down with Ryan [Murphy], and when he pitched this show to me, this little kid that lives inside all of us just started jumping up and down and running around. I said, ‘I want to do it!’ It just got me so excited that it washed most of the crap away. Clearly, there’s some residue. But, it’s delightful to be among such a glorious group of actors and have such magnificent material to play. I’m going on the record to say that we’re going to knock your socks off.”
BASSETT: “I just got a call to come in and meet Ryan. I watched every single episode, but to hear him talk about it, and knowing who would be joining the cast, and that it would be shot in New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities – for the music, the food, the character and their love of death – and people from different strata live within 10 to 15 minutes of each other, it’s just very unique. There is such a history of that town, with free people of color, slaves, whites and Haitians. That I would be able to be in a city that I love, working with artists that I love, that obviously write for women, and to be able also to come home and not neglect my family for six months straight, it had everything going for it, as far as I was concerned.”
With Jessica Lange winning a Golden Globe, an Emmy, a Screen Actor’s Guild Award, and more for her performance on season 1 (a.k.a. Murder House), it’s not difficult to understand why great actresses like Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates would be raring to sign up. Ryan Murphy and company do some strange things on American Horror Story – some of which don’t always pay off – but it has to be a pretty attractive opportunity for actors looking for meaty, original roles.
Personally, I preferred the completely unpredictable season 2 (a.k.a. Asylum) to Murder House, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what Coven can bring to the table. It’s not often that you have almost NO idea as to what’s in store for the third season of a television series – and it’s kind of refreshing.
Ben Moore blogs at Screen Rant.
If there’s one thing Breaking Bad and the White family has mastered, it’s the subtle art of the painfully awkward, excruciatingly tense family dinner. Whether it is Walt and Skyler sitting angrily across the table from one another while Jesse tries in vein to cut the tension by commenting on just how delicious the store-bought green beans are, or a nerve-racking birthday morning where Junior insists his mother mark the occasion by forming a 51 on his father’s plate with bacon – which results in Walt commenting on the merits of “sacrifice” and “Family teamwork.”
Unsurprisingly, things aren’t much different when Walt and Skyler ask Hank and Marie to meet them at a local Mexican restaurant to, you know, discuss the whole Heisenberg thing and maybe clarify any recent suggestions that certain DEA agents should “tread lightly“ over a bowl of freshly prepared guacamole and a pitcher of ice-cold margaritas. Naturally, given the Whites’ penchant for making a little time around the table wind up being as solemn as a funeral, things don’t go too well, as Marie continually insists that Junior come live at Schraderhaus and Hank tells his brother-in-law that being a man means coming clean about his wrongdoings, cancer or no cancer.
And like the cancer that has recently resurfaced in Walter’s lungs, ‘Confessions’ takes a look at the tendency these characters have to relapse into previous conditions and behaviors, and how that recidivism defines them in moments of turmoil or confrontation. Hank comes at Walter straight, giving him no option but to confess to his crimes and to face the music like a man. That’s precisely how Hank sees the world, how he approaches his job and the criminals he pursues and, with a little bit of due diligence, sees them thrown in prison.
Walt, meanwhile, comes at everything and everyone completely cockeyed; his whole plan to provide for his family after being given a terminal diagnosis was to cook meth with a former student and then he wound up the kingpin of an empire he’d never dreamed of building. So, naturally, his move is to offer up a confession wherein he implicates his primary accuser of being the mastermind behind the whole thing because, at the end of the day, the evidence that Hank has on Walt is no more damning than any Walt has on him. And if Walt’s confession were to ever surface and be scrutinized by the DEA – and it would be – the one hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars in medical bills that were paid out to a critically injured Hank Schrader by one Walter White is far more convincing than a copy of Leaves of Grass signed by the man formerly believed to have been Heisenberg.
It’s a strategic blow that hits Hank well below the belt, but lets him know that the ball is in his court, because, after all, he is family and we know how important family is to Walt. And the episode brilliantly illustrates that importance by having Walt offer up his son as the reason Hank should just back off. Walt’s all but promising that he’ll soon be dead and the world may just be a better place without him, but no one should tarnish the memory Junior has of his father, as that might just ruin the young man. It’s a merciless play that capitalizes on Walt’s knowledge of just how much his children mean to Hank and Marie, and how bringing down Heisenberg would also bring about the end of this ultra-dysfunctional family unit. In the end, it’s left to Marie to inadvertently plant the seed of ending it all (or making it look that way, perhaps?) as a way to save those that he loves. And that, of course, ties into the near-future timeline and the larger theme of how everything seems to move in a circular fashion and all misdeeds seem to be revisited upon those who commit them.
But the most interesting aspect of this low-key, yet somehow frantic episode is in how Gennifer Huchtison (who’s credited with writing ‘Confessions’) overtly plays with the concept of Walt as a misguided parent by making sure his two surrogate sons – Jesse and Todd – have a brief moment with their shadowy father figure. Todd is all smiles recounting his misadventures in hijacking a methylamine shipment (and glossing over the killing an innocent child), and even calls Walt to let him know how he’s moving up in the world. But it’s Jesse, who has been so quite over the past two episodes, who erupts, ready with violent-retribution-by-way-of-gas-can, after nearly being talked into a new life somewhere by Walt and Saul.
It’s only at the last moment that Jesse pieces together the missing ricin cigarette and how, for all his fatherly concern, for all the warmth that was in that dad-like embrace in the desert, at this moment, family is just another tool for Walter to use, to ensure that when the end comes, it’s the ending that Walter White envisioned and no one else.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
Eminem’s newest album will be titled “Marshall Mathers LP 2” and will be released Nov. 5, according to the rapper.
The first single off “Marshall Mathers LP 2,” titled “Survival,” had already been posted on Eminem’s site, according to the Detroit Free Press, and the second, “Berzerk,” is scheduled to become available on Aug. 27. “Survival” was reportedly part of a “Call of Duty: Ghosts” trailer promoting the new video game.
Both trailers for the new album on Eminem’s website feature Beats By Dre headphones. (Rapper Dr. Dre is producing the album along with Rick Rubin.)
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A commercial for Beats By Dre headphones aired during the MTV Video Music Awards featuring Eminem and also promoted his new album.
Eminem, who was born Marshall Mathers, released his first album, “Infinite,” in 1996 and followed it with releases including “The Marshall Mathers LP” and “The Eminem Show.” His seventh album, “Recovery,” was released in 2010 and debuted at number one on Billboard, winning the Best Rap Album Grammy for the year and earning a Best Album nomination.
He has received 13 Grammy Awards in total and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself,” which was featured in his 2002 film “8 Mile."
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There has been a long and furious debate about the next stage in Batman movie development. There have been many fans holding holding out hope that the world of Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy would be incorporated into Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ larger shared movie universe – including the return of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. But Nolan and Bale have made it increasingly clear that their time in the DC Universe is done, leaving the world in need of a new actor to step into the iconic cape and cowl.
Now the world has the actor who will be the next Batman… and it’s Ben Affleck. Affleck will stand alongside (and presumably against) Man of Steel star Henry Cavill in the Superman sequel film, which is tentatively being referred to as Batman vs. Superman.
Variety confirms the announcement from Warner Bros. that Affleck – who directed the studio’s Oscar-winning film, Argo – is indeed the new Dark Knight. In addition to that information, we now know when the Superman-Batman movie will hit theaters: July 17, 2015, after Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The collective sound you might be hearing right now is jaws dropping all over the Interwebs. While we here at Screen Rant have been hard at work coming up with casting choices for a new Batman, it’s safe to say that nowhere in our discussions did the name “Ben Affleck” come up. However, despite what is likely to be a tidal wave of knee-jerk reactions, Having Affleck step into the role isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for the following reasons:
- He’s established a good relationship with WB, and was once rumored to be directing the Justice League movie. With his involvement in the franchise now secured, that scenario could still be in the cards. Fans weren’t upset at the notion of an Affleck-helmed JL movie, so…
- Ben Affleck has left his pretty-boy persona of the ’90s/early 2000s WAY behind at this point. He’s demonstrated real skill both behind the camera and in front of it, playing brooding, troubled figures in both Argo and The Town.
- He’s a good match for Cavill in terms of looks and charm and bulk.
- At 41, Affleck is a perfect fit for the slightly older, more experienced, mature (and strategic) Batman that has been rumored for the film.
Of course, these reasons alone are likely not enough to dissuade those who see this news and automatically go into meltdown mode, but hopefully some of our forthcoming features on the subject will help convince the holdouts. All things considered, it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t the end of the World’s Finest.
Now all that’s left is to find a proper Lex Luthor…
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones we are handed the revelation that the world we think we know exists on top of a supernatural plane in which the forces of good and evil are constantly at war. New York teenager Clary Fray (Lily Collins) lives a normal existence – that is, until her latest birthday reveals strange new powers like “the sight” – a mystery that turns into panic when Clary’s overprotective mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey), goes missing.
While on the search for her mom, Clary is attacked by a fearsome demon – only to be saved by Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), a mysterious demon-hunter (“shadowhunter”) that only Clary seems to see. Jace reveals to Clary that she – like her mother – is one of a select group of shadowhunters, tasked with protecting the world from demonic forces. With a dark threat rising, and her mother in peril, Clary, Jace, and their allies will wage warrior against a clandestine threat within the shadowhunter order, while searching for the powerful talisman known as The Mortal Cup, whose location only Jocelyn knows for sure.
The Young Adult movie genre has gotten something of a stigma since Twilight invaded the mainstream, and most moviegoers approach any film within that genre – specifically the YA supernatural sub-genre – with a very critical eye for quality storytelling over hokey romance fantasy and skewed supernatural mythology. I’m proud to report that despite having a very skilled cast of both younger and older actors doing it justice, the material propping up The Mortal Instruments is every YA genre skeptic’s nightmare, and the cinematic interpretation is such an overwrought, drab and cumbersome film that it’s not even a suitable popcorn-muncher to help pass the time.
At the helm is director Harald Zwart, who is best known for the 2010 Karate Kid reboot and his early 2000s film, Agent Cody Banks. City of Bones is an ugly movie (in no uncertain terms) that squanders so much potential. The blocking, framing, angles and mis-en-scene are poorly imagined and executed; the cinematography by Hollywood newcomer Geir Hartly Andreasen looks like someone’s grainy home video; and the director can’t seem to capture or realize any of the imaginativeness of the source material – ultimately resulting in a fantastical world that looks anything BUT fantastical.
Zwart even manages to make his pretty leads just as often look awkward, grimy or otherwise unattractive – a rare feat in filmmaking. In terms of both action and (budgeted) visual effects, however, City of Bones is a definite step up from The Twilight Saga, offering a few sequences of genuinely exciting action and/or visual splendor.
To be fair, beyond the imaginative world and premise, there isn’t much good material for Zwart to work with. City of Bones screenplay writer Jessica Postigo tried to streamline the convoluted novel by Cassandra Clare, but still winds up with an overwrought story that has little emotional punch or payoff and a whole lot of awkwardness by the end. It starts as an intriguing enough mystery, evolves into a suitable second-act quest; however, some third-act “twists” just derail whatever narrative momentum the story manages to build, and muddles both the mythology and character relationships developed up to that point, leaving us with an awkward ending that doesn’t feel much like an ending so much as a chapter break.
This story also has more sappy romantic drama and soap opera-style love triangles than Twilight ever did, making it even more exhausting to endure. As this is both an adaptation and the opening chapter in a larger saga, there are many subplots, foreshadowings and other developments that the movie introduces but fails to explain or resolve – a detriment when set against the need for a film to tell a complete standalone story.
Too bad for the cast of actors in the crossfire, as they manage to do pretty well with their characters and the flimsy material they’re working with. Blind Side and Mirror Mirror star Lily Collins is overqualified for her role, bringing real gravitas and emotion to a performance that is ultimately doomed by the movie around it. Jamie Campbell Bower is sharp and witty as Jace, Clary’s newfound ally and love interest, and he and Collins have strong chemistry. Supporting players like Jace’s adopted siblings Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Isabelle (Jemima West) or Clary’s competing love interest, Simon (Robert Sheehan), are all interesting but ultimately shortchanged by a narrative that spreads itself way too thin in both focus and development.
There is also a cast of well-known stars given bit parts to play (to varying fun or ridiculousness). Game of Thrones star Lena Headey; Mad Men star Jared Harris; Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers; Being Human star Aidan Turner; Warehouse 13 star CCH Pounder and Lost star Kevin Durand are just a few of the quality character actors this film manages to (somehow) wrangle together. With the exception of Meyers, the veteran actors’ respective scenes certainly elevate the material where possible – but unfortunately, those scenes are few.
In the end, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is yet another would-be franchise trying (and quite likely failing) to fill the post-Twilight void. Even with a richer, darker, more action-packed premise; a more intriguing world; and a cast featuring some quality UK thespians with actual acting chops in the leads, there is just no denying that the story and the movie are both sub-par, forgettable – and worst of all, crushingly boring by the end. Bury this one under a city of bones, and tell the cast to seek more lively pastures.
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
The Counselor is a milestone event of a film, as it marks the screenwriting debut of Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books like The Road and No Country for Old Men – who is arguably one of the best American writers living today. That’s a lot of expectation to live up to – especially in the wider and more savage arena of feature-filmmaking. But with a directing heavyweight like Ridley Scott in his corner, not to mention an all-star cast (more an them later), McCarthy certainly has the foundation under him to make an impressive debut on the Hollywood scene.
For the uninitiated: there are two main topics that McCarthy tends to favor in his writing: rumination on the south/southwest region of the United States, and rumination on the darkness and violence that lies in the hearts of human beings. The Counselor looks to continue in that proud McCarthy tradition on both counts, and this new trailer reveals just how dark the ride will get.
In The Counselor, Michael Fassbender stars as a respected lawyer living in the Southwest, who tries to take a quick dive into the drug business to make a quick buck. Of course, once he has crossed the border (literally and figuratively) into the dark world of greed and violence, he discovers that even a quick glimpse into the abyss is enough get yourself swallowed by the darkness.
In addition to Fassbender, The Counselor stars Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris, John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer and Cameron Diaz and Penélope Cruz as two femme fatales. All in all an impressive cast. On the filmmaking side of things: the washed-out shadowy tones of Dariusz Wolski’s (Prometheus, Pirates of the Caribbean) cinematography look to be a suitable match for the pared-down and brutal prose of McCarthy’s writing, and the direction looks pretty good overall, with some clever visual ideas.
However, based on the clips, it is clear that The Counselor will also follow the tradition of McCarthy’s books, which are often punctuated by almost stage play-esque scenes of conversation. The author’s style is arguably comparable to Tarantino – if Tarantino hung around academics, intellectuals and scientists, that is. Some moviegoers might be thrown by such an experience, in the same way that McCarthy’s brutally clean prose has only now and again struck a cord with the mainstream.
Still, The Counselor looks like an interesting experiment, to say the least, and could turn out to be one of the best crime dramas to come along in some time. Or, it could be the next Killing Them Softly on Brad Pitt’s resume (read: heavy-handed “talkie” disguised as a crime flick). We’ll see.
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.